Laurent Gounelle: The day I learned to live

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

How would you react if someone told you that you were going to die soon? We all know we're going to die, it's true, but, admit it, we're sure it will happen… a long time from now, as the children say. We may know it intellectually, but what is it really? Would the realization of the imminence of our death be able to influence, if not modify, our way of behaving every day? Or would we indulge in anger? Depression? Depression maybe?

A first level of reading Laurent Gounelle's novel invites us to introspect: does the life I currently lead really have a meaning? Am I sufficiently present, available, for my family, my friends? Is this quest for “always more” really worth the effort I devote to it? In other words, do I lead my life in “mindfulness” or always chasing after the lark mirror? It sounds like the monk Matthieu Ricard when he says: “Let our mind relax in the peace of Mindfulness, free from hope and fear, and enjoy the freshness of the present moment”.

A second level of reading implicitly raises another essential question in Buddhism. The Buddha's Teachings have told us for 2500 years that it is enough to observe our condition of life today to get an idea of ​​what we have been able to accomplish in our past lives and, more importantly, that these are the actions of this life that shape our condition in future lives.

In both cases, the reflection on death is crucial for those who want to devote themselves to an authentic Buddhist practice, and proves to be the point of entry into this tradition, for a large number of people. The ephemeral aspect of our life is significant for anyone who seriously considers the question. As the formidable aunt of the hero of this novel reveals to us: the awareness of death – which we do our best to hide – allows us to free ourselves from our illusions. The author, far from proposing a deadly questioning, encourages us on the contrary to put our life back in order to refocus on what could constitute the fundamentals.

“The world is the result of our individual acts. Changing yourself is the only path to a better world. A better world where life is good. » Laurent Gounelle

All things considered, this novel could be compared to the resounding the alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. The success of the book lies first and foremost in the fact that everyone can identify with Jonathan, the main character of the story: quadra tossed about by the vagaries of life, separated from the mother of his child whom he only sees every other week, killing himself at work for meager results, feeling deep within himself a growing dissatisfaction with this world in which the material takes precedence over the human, where men have the sole ambition of to impress others, to become the best in constant one-upmanship and fierce competition. It is also so by its deeper message, this invitation to do everything possible to make our human life a moment of plenitude, where the fact of being in agreement with oneself allows us to be in agreement with others as well. .

Laurent Gounelle writes: “The world is the result of our individual acts. Changing yourself is the only path to a better world. A better world where life is good”. The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, is saying the same thing when he proclaims: "It is our daily behavior that builds our happiness and induces a feeling of satisfaction or frustration"

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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